A Change of Heart(-attack)

In my English Course for the Ron Paul Curriculum, I was asked to read the book: A Bus of My Own by James Lehrer.  James Lehrer, more casually known as Jim Lehrer, was a news reporter and fictional writer during the 1950’s.  He retired in 2011 as a news-anchor for the PBS NewsHour.

There was one part, however, where Mr. Lehrer goes through a heart-attack.  The part that I found interesting was not the heart-attack itself, but that the heart-attack literally changed his life.

Mr. Lehrer survived the heart-attack and didn’t suffer any permanent physical or mental damage.    His lifestyle had to change though, and he knew it.

Lehrer decided to change his current diet, which he described as that “of a pimply faced fifteen year-old.”  He didn’t like the new diet at first, but it was loads healthier for him.   He admitted that he was a big smoker for quite a while and that his smoking was probably what caused the attack.  He also said though that because of the attack, he no longer felt the desire or need to smoke.  Previous times, he had tried to quit but it never stuck.  It always came back.  Now, the desire to smoke was simply gone.

When he got back to work he made sure that he made time to take regular naps between airing times and other work.  He found that he had more time to write fiction.  He only had one other novel already published previously and had not had published anything after that.

The heart attack brought about a sudden urge for Mr. Lehrer to change his lifestyle and become better.  It was a good heart attack!  Those are probably two words you never thought you would hear put together: ‘good’ and ‘heart-attack!’

So, although Mr. Lehrer was able to turn his life around and start doing things he enjoyed, not many people are able to go through a heart-attack and survive.   What I feel I can take from this is that, I don’t have time to not do things that make me happy.  To surround myself with friends and family and to make life something worth living.   I guess it takes a near-death experience to be able to appreciate life.

Quinn Palmer

RPC Student

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